Donally History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Today's Irish surnames are underpinned by a multitude of rich histories. The name Donally originally appeared in Gaelic as O Donnghaile, derived from the words "donn," which means "brown," and "gal," which means "valor."

Early Origins of the Donally family

The surname Donally was first found in County Donegal. Later, the sept expanded eastward and became based at Ballydonnelly in the county of Tyrone. The name continues to be common in this area of Ireland today.

The name is believed to be directly descended from King Niall of the Nine Hostages, the great Irish general/king who died by the River Seine in France about 365 A.D., after soundly defeating the Romans and being instrumental in their return to the south. Niall made King Arthur's exploits seem rather small by comparison.

The Donnelly chief was always elected Chief Marshall of the O'Neill forces and their exploits have filled the pages of Irish history compiled by the Four Masters. They are a part of the great Clann Eoghan(Owen).

They claim to be seventeenth in descent from the great King Niall, and their territories were at Ballydonnelly in County Tyrone.

Early History of the Donally family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Donally research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1641, 1650, 1716, 1786, 1816, 1825, 1826 and 1836 are included under the topic Early Donally History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Donally Spelling Variations

People who were accounted for by scribes and church officials often had their name recorded many different ways because pronunciation was the only guide those scribes and church officials had to go by. This resulted in the problem of one person's name being recorded under several different variations, creating the illusion of more than one person. Among the many spelling variations of the surname Donally that are preserved in archival documents are Donnely, Donnelly, Donelly, O'Donnelly, O'Donelly, Donnolly, Donnally, Donolly, Donnilly, Donnelie, Donneley, O'Donnally and many more.

Early Notables of the Donally family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Patrick Donnelly (1650-1716), an Irish Roman Catholic Bishop, known as The Bard of Armagh, born in Desertcreaght, Cookstown, County Tyrone. John Feltham Danneley, "born at Oakingham in 1786, was the second son of a lay-clerk of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. At fifteen years of age he studied thorough bass under Samuel Webbe, and the pianoforte first under Charles Knyvett and afterwards under Charles Neate. He resided...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Donally Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Donally migration to the United States +

Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Donally to North America:

Donally Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Donally, who arrived in Virginia in 1788 [1]
Donally Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Donally, who arrived in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1802 [1]
  • Patrick Donally, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [1]
  • George Donally, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [1]
  • Robert Donally, aged 24, who landed in New York in 1864 [1]

Canada Donally migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Donally Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Donally, aged 35, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833

Australia Donally migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Donally Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Donally who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Edward" on 23rd April 1834, arriving in Tasmania, ( Van Diemen's Land) [2]
  • Mr. James Donally, English convict who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 10th August 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • William Donally, aged 32, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Macedon" [4]
  • Robert Donally, aged 37, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Marshall Bennett" [5]


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th January 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/edward
  3. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retrieved 23rd August 2020, Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 11 January 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MACEDON 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/macedon1853.shtml
  5. ^ South Australian Register Friday 29 April 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Marshall Bennett 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/marshallbennett1853.shtml.


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